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Difference Between Innovation And Creativity In Business
5 Jul 2012

Linking Disruptive Innovations and Disruptive Personalities

This entry is part 2 of 18 in the series Creative Innovation

As with disruptive innovations, disruptive personalities are a great way to tap new markets.

What is the link between disruptive innovations and disruptive personalities?

Innovation is born from people. Children are like their parents in many ways. Do disruptive personalities give birth to disruptive innovations?

Research on Disruptive Personalities

Research often supports dissenters as good for business. The tough part is integrating them with the organizational culture and the team. They can wreak havoc on office politics. This requires managers with broader skill sets and deeper talents.

For instance, Steve Wozniak, the co-founder of Apple, said this to David Kushner about George Holtz, possibly the best hacker of our time:

I understand the mind-set of a person who wants to [hack], and I don’t think of people like that as criminals. In fact, I think that misbehavior is very strongly correlated with and responsible for creative thought.

Link to Disruptive Innovation

Then there is disruptive innovation. The second half of the connection. Clayton Christensen of Harvard University popularized the idea. I am sure though that this is far more popular than disruptive personalities are.

People tend to like those who are positive. There are down sides to this. For instance, it often takes crises to trigger change. Some see crises better than other do. They see a glass half empty.

That is why studies show those who see their glass as half empty are more likely to go and get more water. They are more likely to change. People though see them as naysayers.

They also become weary of those who buck rules and question conventions. This is important to innovation though. All of these create huge barriers to building company culture friendly to innovation.

Managing Disruptive Personalities

Of course, it is important that disruptive personalities do not become destructive ones. The line is not clear. It only reinforces the need for better managers and leaders. They play a key role in making sure this does not happen.

Old-line management tactics are not good here. There is too much focus on getting everyone in line. The focus is on discipline if they do not. This approach turns disruptive into destructive.

This means manages more attuned to small but sensitive differences among personalities. They are managers more adaptive to a wide range of personality types. They know that disruptive employees can be the most innovative and bring out their best.



Series Navigation<< Making Group Brainstorming More Effective And InnovativeHow Work Pressure and Fear Affect Innovation >>

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